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Queensland GPs flooded with patients reporting heart problems after long Covid

Queenslanders are flooding GPs with heart problems sparked by long Covid, the country’s peak medical body has warned.

Queenslanders are flooding GPs practices with heart problems sparked by long Covid, the state’s peak medical body has revealed.

Doctors are seeing more patients with myocarditis and pericarditis due to inflammation caused by the virus that can cause palpitations chest pain or shortness of breath.

“We are now seeing the impact of long Covid which makes it clear that Queenslanders should be more aware of taking precautions. Prolonged symptoms can be very severe in some people,” Australian Medical Association Queensland president Maria Boulton told The Courier-Mail.

“Of course healthcare workers would love to stop thinking about Covid and move on but long Covid can’t be swept under the carpet,” she said.

GP Bruce Willett and spokesman for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners said that he has seen an increase in people with heart palpitations, extreme fatigue and debilitating brain fog at his practice.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners spokesman Dr Bruce Willett. Picture: Tara Croser

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners spokesman Dr Bruce Willett.

“My own wife had to see a cardiologist due to her own long Covid symptoms which had persisted for six months. By the time she had all the tests the problem had passed. We generally consider a patient to be suffering from long Covid if they are having problems 12 weeks after a bout of the virus,” Dr Willett said.

The GP said that the long Covid symptoms require a lot of investigations to rule out other illnesses.

“It takes a lot of tests and more than one visit to rule out other things,” he said.

Myocarditis and pericarditis are both inflammatory conditions that affect the heart. While myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, pericarditis is inflammation of the sack-like tissue layer that surrounds the heart.

Up to one in 10 people report symptoms of Covid-19 persisting for more than three months.

Two Covid-19 vaccination doses are associated with a 13 per cent to 47 per cent lower risk of symptoms persisting beyond four weeks

Last year the Australian government announced a $50m investment for research into long Covid. A parliamentary inquiry called for a single Covid-19 database and a research program into the condition.

The AMA’s submission to the inquiry said that long Covid would have impacts on the entire health system and GPs on the front line would need appropriate resourcing to manage the expected increase in patients.